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A gently encouraging tale of navigating disability.

An anthropomorphic adult lion adjusts to using a wheelchair.

After Lucas falls from a ladder, injuring his spine, his doctors explain that he’ll never walk again. Lucas, who loves cycling, driving, and teaching, fears he can no longer enjoy such activities in a wheelchair. Furthermore, he’s sad to move in with his parents, who do all his cooking, cleaning, and grooming. Fortunately, friends from many species come to the rescue, cheering him up and raising funds for an adapted car, and Lucas gradually learns to do housework and self-care from his chair. Finding wheelchair-accessible housing is difficult, but Lucas eventually “[gets] lucky” and finds an apartment building with a ramp, an elevator, and new friends who are “happy to help.” The final illustration finds Lucas holding paws with his mother, who “doesn’t have to worry [about him] anymore!” Plohl’s matter-of-fact treatment of barriers feels simultaneously refreshingly honest and somewhat rushed; highlighting the scarcity of such basic needs as accessible shelter without further exploration risks casting inaccessibility as a norm rather than a product of human decisions and designs that exclude disabled people. However, along with Šonc’s sunny cartoon illustrations, Plohl’s simple declarative sentences will reassure newly disabled readers in particular that independence is possible. The Slovenian author’s biography explains that, like Lucas, he became paraplegic after a ladder accident; color photos show him performing everyday activities.

A gently encouraging tale of navigating disability. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4766-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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